Day 297 – Thankful for a Run with Dad

This morning I got up early like I’ve been meaning to all week ūüėČ.  After slowly waking up and stretching out I headed down to the fitness center and hopped on a treadmill.  At first I was reminded of how much I dislike “dreadmills,” but after handful of heavy footfalls I started to cheer up and enjoy the ride.

As I was heading into the home stretch I started thinking of Dad.  The music I had chosen started pushing me in that direction, but it turned into a full on shove as Avicii started blasting my ears.  A huge grin stretched across my face as Broken Arrows started, and inspired by the song and the thought of my Dad running with me I upped the speed into ranges that I have no right to be running in.

For some reason while I was running and totally engrossed in the song (which was followed by The Nights) I pictured myself running on a trail with Dad alongside of me.  He was smiling that smile of pride that’s been burned into my memories, one of many different smiles that he had.  As I started to feel winddd he told me to keep going and even chided me a bit with some of the same old jokes that we’ve shared forever.  The treadmill kept going, my legs kept moving, and Dad kept smiling.

At one point I almost broke into a laugh when I remembered a story he once told me about his first, and only, high school track race.  Long story short, he tried competing in track without going through practice.  He chose a race and took off like a shot out of the blocks.  Sprinting, he passed everyone and couldn’t believe how fast he was going.  Rounding the second bend he was amazed at the lead he had built…  and that’s when he realized that there was more than one lap in the race…  and was quickly passed on the last lap by everyone.  It still cracks me up picturing that!

So on my run this morning there I am, going way too fast, and Dad was laughing as I remembered that story.  Totally lost in my own little world I was smiling, jamming out to my music. Possibly singing out loud a little, and enjoying a run with Dad.  It was awesome and an incredible way to start the day.

Dad, you may be gone, but it’s wild how many times I’m still feeling you near me.  Thanks for that!  Love you Dude!!!


Day 296 – Thankful for Our 3 Core Values

Over the past couple of year my Express teams and I have worked very hard at living our three core values. ¬†They aren’t just words on a wall to fulfill a corporate checklist, they are a way of living our lives. ¬†Each of my team members knows them by heart and many difficult situations have been handled successfully by going back to them. ¬†Today was an excellent reminder of why they are important.

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Due to the situation surrounding today’s specific reminder I’m not able to share the details of the situation, but I can say the following. ¬†We had a very difficult challenge that we were facing and when we looked at it through the lens of our values it became easier to see the necessary course of action, one that is usually saved as a last resort. ¬†Making this call is always difficult because it hurts us in the short term from one standpoint, but making this call also makes us stronger for the long term and is the right decision from the point of our values.

One of the books we’ve read a long time ago mapped out the concept of values and vision in a very interesting way. ¬†The vision is the end zone of a football field, it is where we are driving towards. ¬†The values are the sidelines, they help us know if we are in the right place. ¬†As we held to our values today we may have taken a small step back, maybe took a sack, but set ourselves up for the score in the next few plays. ¬†Without our core values it would have been much tougher to make the call.

The very interesting side note is that when we determined the appropriate course of action and made it happen there were some interesting results that showed us that it may help propel us further towards our vision than we ever could have imagined.

There are always many ways to handle a situation, today I’m so very thankful to have had the solid foundation of our values to work from, they really guided us in the right direction.


Day 295 – Thankful for a Day that Reminds Me of the Many Blessings I Have in My Life, or at Least the Tip of the Iceberg

Once in a great while there’s a day that leaves me almost speechless. ¬†As I spend time in thought and consider all of the things for which I am grateful for the day there end up being almost too many to count, let alone one that stands above the others. ¬†Today was one of those days. ¬†As I stand back and think about it there’s one thing in particular that hit me… ¬†I have so many blessings in my life to be thankful for, and the ones today are just the tip of the iceberg of all things for which I am grateful in my life.

Each little moment, incident, or thing reminded me that I’m really living an incredibly wonderful life…

  • Being able to have a beginner’s mindset and learn so much from a training that is meant for a beginner in our business. ¬†It’s meant setting my ego aside and thinking about how much I can learn as opposed to proving how much I know. ¬†Humbling at times as I realize that I’m wrong and have made mistakes, yet refreshing to see that the future is moldable if I’m willing to work on it.
  • My career path is an honorable one, one I can be proud of, one that fits my values, and, most importantly, one that can have an impact on the lives of others. ¬†Being able to help people find work, helping businesses become more successful and needing more people, and helping others to reach their dreams is something that I am proud to tell my family that I do.
  • The Express family is full of like minded individuals who want to help people succeed and are willing to go outside of their comfort zone to do that.
  • As I have been blessed to have so many incredible mentors surround me throughout my career, I am blessed to be able to share their teachings with others and making sure that others know where they were learned. ¬†This helps me honor those who’ve helped me in the way they’d appreciate the most, by helping others.
  • I have a tremendously strong relationship with Becky and my boys. ¬†We know what is important to us and are able to focus our energy on making that happen. ¬†We’re happy to spend time together and truly miss each other when we’re apart.
  • Losing Dad has really sucked and I’m surprised by how many firsts there are now that he’s gone, BUT I have a brother who understands and who helps me through as I help him through. ¬†We are a team and will be okay through this because we have each other.

In addition to these there’ve been many things that I’ve been thankful for today, each moment a reminder of how blessed my life is. ¬†It’s not perfect and it’s not easy, but I’m thankful for my life. ¬†Today was one of those days when I can step back and tell The Big Man Upstairs, “Dude, You really nailed this one for me. ¬†Thank You for putting this much awesome into my life, it is greatly appreciated!!!”



Day 294 – Thankful for Great Conversation with an Old Friend

Today’s training was great, but at the end I was ready to head off to my room to chill. ¬†My brain was full and there were too many ideas rolling around to even begin to think about anything else. ¬†I figured I’d go back up, slip into pajamas, relax and be asleep by 8pm. ¬†Sounds both old and glorious at the same time, doesn’t it?

As it worked out there was an opportunity to hang out with an old friend of mine ¬†We figured we’d go out of a beer, shoot the shit, and call it a night. ¬†Nothing crazy, we were both in the same mindset of calling it an early one. ¬†Next thing we knew a few hours had passed by and we’d had a great time catching up and shooting the bull.

Sure, we talked about business, that’s what we’re both here for, but it was more than that. ¬†We also talked family, life goals, values, parents, and spirituality. ¬†We were able to bond on many fronts and it was great bonding with an old friend.

Funny thing is that I had written a blog about being thankful for him a year and a half ago after he sacrificed a day to help me out. ¬†( see Day 137 ). ¬†Spending time with him again was a great reminder for me of both how far I’d come since the last time we’d had a good chunk of time together and also how much his one day had influenced me. ¬†As I think back to that previous conversation I can’t help but smile as I realize just what an impact that talk had on me and how it helped get me to a very good place. ¬†Had it not been for his unbiased insight things may have been very different.

Throw in some talking tonight about my dad and reminders of some of the incredible gifts that Dad gave me and it was a pretty great night of conversation with Jeff again. ¬†It’s funny how stepping out of the craziness of day to day life has led us to some fantastic bonding time. ¬†We’ll have several opportunities for conversation over the next several days, I’m sincerely looking forward to them!


Day 293 – Thankful for an Outdoors and Science Loving Family

Day 293 – Thankful for an Outdoors and Science Loving Family

I’m so thankful my family loves the outdoors and science!  I’ve the past couple of days of camping this has really stuck out to me and it puts a huge smile on my face.

I wrote yesterday of the trail run with Becky while camping with her family and we all know she loves science…

Dominic had so much fun spending the entire weekend outside with his cousins, much of it spent either fishing or catching frogs.  He may not have caught one of the gigantic bullfrogs that he was after but he enjoyed the chase!

Gavin got a present that he loved busting out as soon as we got home…  almost 20 geodes that were all begging to be cracked open.  Pretty sure there’s a solid chance he becomes a geologist of some sort.

Over the course of the weekend camping trip we had the opportunity to enjoy many great moments outside, including an awesome lightning show!

One thing is for sure, I’m so thankful to have a family who loves being outside and needing out with science as much or more than I do!  Who needs screens, TVs, or AC when you can be outside enjoying the natural world? ūüėĄ


Day 292 – Thankful for Trail Running with Becky

One of the things I look forward to with camping with the Thums Clan each year starts on Saturday morning.  As the boys wake up they slowly exit the tent and Becky and I get to sleep in a bit.  After a little while we start to stir, stretch out, get dressed, and head out for a run.  This year followed the standard pattern. 

Staying at a new campground this year we quickly realized that there were some nice trails to run so we quickly got off the pavement and enjoyed running on dirt, mud, and grass.  There’s something peaceful about running in the wild like that, so quiet and free of stress.  As Becky and I kept going we were reminded of past training runs and races and had fun thinking back to each.  It was very relaxing.
Running with Becky is always nice, but today it felt even better thanks to getting off the road and on the trails.   It also helped me think forward about when the kids are grown up and we’re traveling more…  wake up on any day, not just a Saturday, and find a trail nearby the place we’re staying.  Ahh…  I love times like this when I’m able to simultaneously enjoy the present and the thought of the future…  all from one simple trail run with Becky.


Day 291 – Thankful for Hearing About Dominic’s Fun at Boy Scout Camp

The whirlwind weekend is here and we picked up Dominic in a car that had just enough room left for him and his scouting gear…  Dominic just wrapped up his week of scouting and was pretty pumped to share the experience with us.  

He had fun dumping his rowboat as a part of his merit badge.  The crafting counselor reminded him of Grandpa Pete and he enjoyed making several leather items.  One night they got to fly in a small airplane as a part of their Aviation merit badge.  Last night he slept in a shelter that he and some fellow scouts build themselves for Wilderness Survival.  They enjoyed the counsellors’ skits.  He climbed the climbing wall, all four sides of it.  The kid is crazy tan, covered in big bites, over tired, and smiling huge!

Over the past couple of days I’ve had a memory that’s kept popping back in my head.  My dad picked me up one year from Camp Tesomas.  I’m not sure why, but I remember it was right as Iraq invaded Kuwait and Dad and I talked about that for a while.  The majority of the conversation was focused on my camping adventures and he just smiled as I shared all the stories.

As a dad I’m now smiling as Dominic tells us about all of the fun he had.  I’m also understanding that there was another reason he was smiling so big…  Each story I shared queued up old memories of his fun times at camp, just as Dominic’s stories are doing for me.  What an incredible gift to see my son so happy, and, at the exact same time, smile inside remembering scouting stories I hadn’t thought of for a very long time.

I know Dad is smiling somewhere with us as he hears all the stories too, and I’m sure he’s smiling about his own stories too.

Thanks for sharing all of the scouting adventures you had his week Dominic, I hope that you remember them as your kids share their adventures with you!


Day 290 – Thankful for Sharing Laughs with Becky While Adulting

Day 290 – Thankful for Sharing Laughs with Becky While Adulting

This week has been a blur Рand we only have one kid this week!!!  With Dominic at Boy Scout Camp I figured it would be a little more quiet than normal.  Drop Dominic off on Sunday and we can go on cruise control for a several nights.  Then I remembered that we had a few more things going on this week than I first thought.

Tonight was the culmination of five nights of non-stop chaos… ¬†Rush home from work to pick up a new pair of shoes (thanks again for eating my tan dress shoes Skywalker!), hit the grocery store, pack for camping with Becky’s family this weekend, pack for a week of training in OKC, and all the normal stuff. ¬†It’s been exhausting. ¬†My Absolut Mandarin & Lime Sparkling Water have been just the nightcap I was hoping for to help me wrap up for the night.

As I started thinking about what to blog about there were many thoughts popping through my head, some about my dad, some about work, running alone, the drop in temperature, the boys, and pretty much everything in between. ¬†With this page opened up and my fingers resting on the A, S, D, F, J, K, L, and ; keys something funny happened… ¬†Becky and I started laughing and she made a comment about something that I had seen on Facebook a while back posted by a friend… ¬†Redneck dudoir photography. ¬†Laughing like a couple of middle schoolers we jumped on “the Google” and pulled up a search that had us both giggling non-stop. ¬†At that moment it hit me what I was thankful for today.


From the start of the day to the end of the day there has been one constant besides the crazy chaos. ¬†Becky and I have been laughing the entire time. ¬†Adulting? ¬†We don’t fear it. ¬†We’ll laugh our asses off and keep each other smiling. ¬†That’s just what we do. ¬†It’s wild, when one of us is down the other flips their mood and vice versa.

Whether it was redneck dudoir photography (seriously hysterical and possibly Becky’s birthday present! ¬†LOL!!!), joking about something one of us said, bringing up movie quotes, pointing out just how crazy life is, or damn near anything we kept each other laughing. ¬†I’m exhausted, worn out, and ready to just shut down for a week… but I’m smiling like a damn fool thanks to the joking back and forth with my partner in crime.


Thanks for keeping life fun Babe, love you!!!



Day 289 – Thankful for Being Comfortable Being Me with My Teams

Over the past 30 hours or so I’ve had the opportunity to meet with each of my teams to discuss the successes of the first half of the year and decide what we want to improve for the second half of the year. ¬†Now that they’re all wrapped up I’m still super proud of all of their accomplishments in the first six months of the year, they’ve busted their butts and seen excellent results.


When I was growing up I always envisioned business owners being these super uptight and very professional people.  The views I had f them never quite lined up with the way I saw myself and that led to self-consciousness about my own ability to fill those roles.

What I am so thankful for today is that I am completely comfortable being myself with my teams. ¬†I don’t have to put on a front and be something that I’m not. ¬†I can be relaxed, funny, driven, focused, inappropriate, frustrated, opinionated, loving, compassionate, big hearted, happy, sad, independent, ornery, micromanaging, under managing, professional, unprofessional, and pretty much everything in between. ¬†Just like family they take me for who I am. ¬†I give them a hard time, they give me a hard time, but at the end of the day we’re one team and have great respect for each other.

I can’t begin to say how liberating it is to just be me with them, it is something I’m incredibly grateful for. ¬†Thank you to each and everyone of my teammates for taking me as I am and helping to coach me in those many moments when I need it!


Day 288 – Thankful for an Incredible and Unexpected Gift from Dad

Each day there’s a point in the day that I get a broad smile of satisfaction knowing that I’ve found it, the thing that I’m thankful for. ¬†The topic of my blog. ¬†It’s crossed my bow, I’ve recognized it, and in the back of my head I’m already starting to write the post.

Today I had found that moment, an event that touched my soul very profoundly. ¬†Later in the day there was another great moment of revelation. ¬†Sometime shortly after that there was another moment. ¬†I started to panic a bit, which was I going to choose? ¬†And that’s when it happened…

As I ended a call and went to set my iPhone down it vibrated and alerted me to a voicemail that had come through while I was on the phone. ¬†While looking at the voicemail screen I smiled and an idea crossed my mind. ¬†Feverishly searching my deleted voicemails I found what I was looking for… ¬†Two voicemails from Dad.

Hearing his voicemail immediately brought happy tears to my cheeks. ¬†I’ve tried typing what else to say and deleted it four times already, so let me put it this way… ¬†Hearing that voice again was music for my soul.


If you’d like hear his voice again you’ll find the recording below.

Today was filled with many wonderful gifts, I’m thankful for so much today that my heart is full. ¬†Thank you to all of you!!!